Do You Like Audiobooks? by Jann Rowland

Do You Like Audiobooks? by Jann Rowland

Caption reads: “The phonograph at home reading out a novel.” From Daily Graphic (New York), 2 April 1878. Less than a year after the invention of the phonograph, this drawing offered a future vision. Novels however would remain impractical for phonographs until the 1930s.

As an author, I subscribe to several author resource sites, and I’ve found that it’s rare that I don’t get an update from them at least once every month or two claiming how quickly audiobooks are growing as a segment of the marketplace. With one notable exception, however, I’ve never really gotten into that market.

But I can see their point. If I don’t listen to books, there is no way I can read anything, as I just don’t have the time. I have an app on my phone that will take PDFs, eBooks, etc., and read them back to me through text to speech. That’s nice, as I can listen to the book, eBooks are cheap, and if the voice is digitally created and has little inflection, it’s better than nothing. But audiobooks are so much better, especially if the narrator is talented. And contrary to popular belief, audiobooks are not as new as some people think. As the caption above reads, they’ve been around in phonograph form since the 1930s, though they were called “talking books.” It’s only in recent years since technology has progressed to the point where producing them has become so much more inexpensive and the means of distributing them so easy that they’ve become popular.

The reason I have never gotten into the market is simple—even with how it is preferable to have books out in as many formats as possible, I’ve just never thought doing audiobooks was worthwhile from a time versus benefit standpoint. There are a few ways to get a book into audio format. There are services that, for the right price, can help an author create audiobooks with decent quality, services like Findaway Voices and ACX. I’ve also looked into creating my own setup, doing the voice work and selling it myself. I’ve done some homework on both options, and while the first doesn’t come with the time consumption of the second, I’ve just never thought it was worth the bother. Furthermore, though the option of doing it myself is appealing, the time commitment is atrocious, and while I have a voice that I think would do okay, I’m a bit of a halting reader when I read aloud.

That leaves the third option. As some of you may know, one of my novels, In the Wilds of Derbyshire, was published as an audiobook by a publisher. Thereafter, however, they declined to do any more of my work. I continued on doing my thing for a couple of years, and then they approached me again for In Default of Heirs Male. (Is it books that start with “in” that does it? There seems to be a theme here . . .)

Therefore, I’m pleased to announce that In Default of Heirs Male is now contracted and scheduled to be released as an audiobook in December. But that isn’t all. When they approached me, I thought about it for a bit and decided that it really didn’t make sense to publish audiobooks 6 – 9 months after they were originally published in eBook and paperback format. Thus, I proposed to them that I would submit new manuscripts for their review and coordinate releases.

I see this as a significant step forward in my development as an author and will potentially impact more than just Pride and Prejudice variations. It may be that some of my future fantasy stuff will also find their way into the audiobook market. There is also the chance that some of my older successful works will also be published, and I’ve already convinced them to publish The Mistress of Longbourn, which is probably my most successful book to date. Where this will affect my releases in the future is in the timing. It takes time to produce an audiobook, such that my current timelines simply won’t cut it. My agreement is not that they will publish all my future works, but that I will submit to them for consideration. If they decide to pick one up, it will be delayed. Any books they decide not to publish I will follow my usual publishing procedures.

One more thing to note: if you’ve listened to the audiobook of In the Wilds of Derbyshire, you likely know it was narrated by Mary Sarah, who is an excellent voice actor. I’ve requested her if possible for In Default of Heirs Male, and I’m hope they’re able to bring her on board. Her work on my first book was top notch!

Now a final bit of housekeeping as is my wont. I have a novella I’m putting out next week, titled Danger at the Netherfield Ball. With so ominous a title, you should expect some dastardly deeds by one of our favorite villains! Next up, the second book that many have been waiting for, Bonds of Life. I apologize, but I’m going to have to delay it another month. This two book set has been one of the most difficult things I’ve written, and it’s just not gone as fast as many others. Thus, the release date will now be in late November. My next offering, which is already part of my daily tasks, will be the first that may be affected by a potential audiobook release.



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September 26, 2021 3:47 PM

As I am fond of multi-tasking, I love listening to stories while on my way to work/store etc and while doing chores. I think it is a wise investment…I feel one day when my eyes cannot appreciate the writings on a book, I will still be able to appreciate my favorite stories by listening to these audiobooks???

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
September 19, 2021 7:49 AM

Back in the day, I had a long commute and loved reading books on tape. The tricky part was switching tapes. When they switched over to CDs, it was much better. Now they have audiobooks. I dislike the subscription part of Audible but love the promo codes authors provide.

What I do love is Chirp. There are deep discounts every day and they offer a wide variety of audiobooks. It’s run by the company that owns BookBub. You can listen on a device or even on a computer, which I prefer.

What a great article. Good luck with your releases. Love the creative titles.

Leslie Waters
September 16, 2021 10:57 AM

I love audiobooks. I mainly use the LIBBY app that is linked to our Public Libraries. And the Sora app that is also linked to public libraries and school district. They both have lots of audio and digital books, but are limited. I purchase quite a few audio CDs as well.

Lisa Alden
September 16, 2021 9:13 AM

Love listening to audiobooks when Im gardening or working in my art studio. Couldnt live without them. Happy that more P&P variations are now coming out!

September 15, 2021 3:05 PM

I never liked to listen to audiobooks but now it’s my preference as I found that’s the only way I can fine the time is to listen while I do other things. I even do what you mentioned and use accessibility features to have eBooks read out to me. The narration is of course quite robotic but it still allows me to “read” while I multitask. Congrats on having another of your works published in this format and hope there might be more in the future.

Robin G.
Robin G.
September 15, 2021 2:17 PM

When my husband and I lived in Michigan (1993-1999), I had an awful commute. I would listen to books in the car as a way to make it seem less horrific. The books were all on cassette tape. At that time, it was more common to have abridged works, so I had to work at making sure the ones I had were unabridged. We moved in 1999, but if we hadn’t, I planned on joining a library/subscription service that would let me borrow and return the audiobooks when I was done. I really haven’t listened to audiobooks since, as I love reading. However, I have heard other JAFF readers rave about some of their audiobooks. I doubt I’ll start using them, but who knows? I never thought I’d adopt the Kindle as easily as I did.

September 15, 2021 2:14 PM

I Love audiobooks! I prefer to hear books with British characters and settings read to me by actors with legit accents. In fact, I frequently purchase books based on narrator, not just author (Have you listened to Davina Porter reading the Outlander series? Simply magnificent!) Thanks for being willing to get your books published in print AND audio. I have read all of Austen and listened, too. Both excellent experiences.

J. W. Garrett
J. W. Garrett
September 15, 2021 1:57 PM

I don’t do audiobooks because I can’t walk across the floor and chew gum at the same time. It would distract me and I’d harm myself especially if I was trying to cook or was using sharp implements. LOL! I enjoy reading for myself. I admire others who do enjoy them. I wish you all manner of success with all your plans. Blessings.

September 15, 2021 1:36 PM

I admit I don’t have audiobooks! I love to read at my own pace as I often reread favourites passages as I go. I also don’t think I could concentrate on the story if I’m not reading it myself.
I certainly couldn’t listen while driving.
Obviously they are a good idea as I know many people love them, the care home where my Mum lives have just got some for her as she has very little sight now and struggles to read.
Good luck with yours.

Linda A.
Linda A.
September 15, 2021 1:22 PM

Personally, I’m not an audio book user. I get distracted and it just becomes “noise” after a short time. But, I hope they work out for you. Good luck!

Jean Stillman
Jean Stillman
September 15, 2021 10:37 AM

I have the basic audible account with Amazon, which I am not sure that I will keep. I received a free month, when I purchased a new Kindle. So far, I am not happy with what is available with the plan. That said, I have been reading your books for several years, as will a number of the Austen Authors group. I much prefer to read. Sometimes the voices from the Audible books are annoying and distracting. So for me, I will keep reading your books! Thank you!

cindie snyder
cindie snyder
September 15, 2021 10:29 AM

I have Audible on my tablet but I can’t get it to work. So I stay away from audio books. I have a book on cassette tape that I can listen to but it is years old but still good!

Riana Everly
September 15, 2021 10:01 AM

I need to look into audiobooks too, but I never use them myself. All the best on your venture with this publisher!

September 15, 2021 8:44 AM

I would really like to know what is the app that you use on your phone?

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